The UCSB surf team performed well in both rain and shine this past weekend, proving its place in the top ranks by dominating the National Scholastic Surfing Association’s event at Huntington Beach. With Gauchos placing in the top three spots of most round-one heats, UCSB continued its advance into the semi-finals where senior captain Charlie McMahon and junior Brad Margol put in UCSB’s best performances.
Although rain in the forecast kept most beachgoers inside, surf contests all along the strip of Huntington Beach continued religiously. Saturday morning remained dry, but the storm crept south and arrived by Sunday morning.
Sunday’s brief showers provided blown out waves that created inconsistent turnouts for the earlier heats. As the sun eventually pulled through, conditions took a turn for the better – or so it seemed at first. The bright glare through the clouds on the water made for low visibility from the judging stand, and the judges had a hard time differentiating between colored jerseys, giving waves to contestants that they never even rode.
In the first women’s round of the day, UCSB captain Bianca Valenti scored some of the best waves the morning had to offer, heading into the second round with a strong first place. The waves brought disappointment for Valenti, however, because their magnitude could not quite match her talent. She waited patiently for a better wave throughout her heat, but the swell did not pull through for her.
The waves gained shape and momentum as the men’s longboard division paddled out, giving way for some of the best rides all day. UCSB junior Corey Hartwyk, looking comfortable on his nearly 10-foot-long stick, advanced through the quarterfinals leaving competitors in the dark.
Overall, UCSB has a majority of the better surfers competing this year. This past weekend’s contest made for some good rivalry as the best collegiate surfers around decided to show up, which is not a usual occurrence. Although the weather caused poor visibility, competitors were still able to weigh the competition they will face in the State Championships March 16-18 in San Onofre, Calif.